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What We Learned: UFC 200 delivers despite late changes

Daniel Cormier, right, defeated Anderson Silva by unanimous decision at UFC 200 on July 9. Joshua Dahl/USA TODAY Sports

UFC 200 happened. That much we can all agree on.

The finished product did not look like any of us thought it would. Check the dumpsters behind UFC headquarters to confirm that; you're sure to find plenty of unused promotional material. The UFC 200 main event changed three times overall -- twice in the final three days.

Did it eventually live up to the hype? And what should we truly take away from it? Here's what we learned from one of the most bizarre and eventful weeks this sport has ever seen.


No one is better at turning lemons into lemonade than the UFC

Even if it wasn't the most delicious lemonade you've ever had. Lemon water, at least. Look, I've been to many memorable UFC events where stars align, every fight is better than the last and the energy level never ceases. UFC 200 was not that.

Jose Aldo's interim featherweight title victory over Frankie Edgar was an extremely impressive performance and it was well-received in Las Vegas, but it did not bring the arena to its feet. Daniel Cormier vs. Anderson Silva was strange, honestly. It felt more like a handshake deal than a real cage fight. With Jon Jones off the card, the UFC needed a big fight, Cormier still needed a payday and Silva was happy to step in and cash his own payday for a low-pressure fight he was expected to lose. It was nice to have, but not entirely memorable.

Mystery is sort of Brock Lesnar's thing when it comes to mixed martial arts participation, but was there too much of it this week? He granted almost no media availability, taking the stance of, "I'm here, and that's enough." Which, in a way, it was -- but it would have been nice to have some perspective on what this weekend meant for him. Perhaps he just can't say much because of his contract with the WWE. But for me, it kind of lessened the "Lesnar experience." It was fun having him, but only in the brief way it's fun to see a celebrity movie cameo.

And the main event was fine. Spectacular upset by Amanda Nunes...crushing result for Miesha Tate. Not a bad way to end the night at all, but of course, it was hard to not feel Jones' absence at the same time.

UFC 200 delivered in that it packed the lineup with big names under awful circumstances. Sure, you can argue the promotion shot itself in the foot by removing Conor McGregor from the main event. And when all that went down in April, I did argue that. But it happened and the promotion moved on and if it weren't for Jones getting the boot the week of the fight, it was a well-constructed card. UFC 200 wasn't the best night of fights but it still felt "big," and only the UFC could have managed to pull that off.


In his own way, Aldo just made a McGregor rematch must-see

I really, really wanted Aldo to jump out of the Octagon on Saturday and confront McGregor in the first row. I wanted it so bad, you guys.

Or if he didn't want to flip the script on McGregor by copying exactly what the current champ did to him in 2015, at least throw the interim belt on the floor and walk straight towards McGregor and let him know exactly what you're going to do to him. Tell him to never come back to 145 pounds. For his safety, don't come back.

The best Aldo gave was a quick point in McGregor's general direction and a half callout on the mic. And that's alright -- but after what happened in December, that 13-second knockout and this perception McGregor mentally defeated Aldo before they stepped into the cage, it would have been exciting to see some direct fire out of Aldo. An assertive challenge aimed right between the eyes of his greatest rival.

His performance against Edgar will have to serve as that challenge. And don't get me wrong, that alone does the job for the most part. Aldo was very good on Saturday. He did not look like a burned out former champion still feeling the effects of a shocking loss. We'll see what happens between McGregor and Nate Diaz at UFC 202 on Aug. 20. Win or lose, McGregor certainly has a compelling rematch against Aldo waiting for him.